Let’s assume that you are in the market for a new smartphone and have settled your eyes on one of the latest iPhone models. From Apple, you might have seen on-screen advertising that screams about said phone being brilliant, but a respected tech critic might have misgivings about the device.
Which source do you lend greater credibility – the Apple advertising or the tech critic’s review? This sheds light on why influencer marketing has taken such a prominent hold in recent years. People are distrustful of excessively boastful marketing campaigns that just don’t come across as authentic.
However, we can probably all think of people whose opinions we consider to have significant gravitas. Those people might include highly-followed members of social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram – and influencer marketing can see you leveraging their power to benefit your brand.
Who actually are “influencers”?
The definition of “influencer” can seem tricky to pin down. After all, an influencer is not necessarily a celebrity, though there is obviously a long history of big stars being recruited as brand ambassadors. In truth, there are many different types of influencers.
Alongside celebrities, there are experts and industry leaders, who are unmatched in credibility, notes Aastha Sirohi, writing for Business 2 Community. Journalists and academics fall into this bracket. Bloggers, too, can often be deemed influencers in various fields including health, fashion and personal development.
Other influencers include video content creators – who, like Lewis Hilsenteger of the popular Unbox Therapy channel on YouTube, work with brands to discuss them with audiences. Hilsenteger, for example, is often sent new smartphones to unbox and review in tantalizing footage.
Then, there are “micro influencers” – perhaps the most relatable of influencers, as they tend to have small followings to which they are seen as experts on a particular topic.
Why are influencers so powerful?
In talking to their audience about your brand or product, influencers can spread awareness of your brand – and, especially conveniently, to an audience relatively inclined to buy from you. Meanwhile, when these influencers link back to your website, its prominence in search engine results can grow.
Influencer marketing can be especially effective when you are about to launch a new product, as The Next Web makes clear. By sending a pre-release product to an influencer and letting them talk about it as they wish, you can promote in a way that does not undermine the influencer’s trustworthy image.
Social media influencers are influential for various reasons detailed by Jelle Fastenau, writing for Medium. One is that they tend to be deemed authorities in subjects in which they specialize. Another reason is the influencers’ physical attractiveness, which takes advantage of humans’ susceptibility to attractiveness bias.
Another reason is that, quite simply, these influencers are often relatable. They are seen as “one of us”, which helps to explain why celebrity influencers are not always favored by brands. However, it remains important that your business strikes relationships with the right influencers. Intermediaries like the influencer marketing agency Socially Powerful can bring this to fruition.